Teaching your kids to read in English

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Right then,

 

Some time before me Mum popped her clogs she discovered a link for me called the Oxford Reading Tree:

 

http://www.oup.com/oxed/primary/oxfordreadingtree/

 

Now my daughter is seven and can read okay in German but we want that she can read English books. My Mum was always down the Scope and charity shops hunting down Peter and Jane and the like for her and managed to buy three Ladybird books of the Easy Reading variety.

 

Now if we have bilingual kids does the age range stay the same or do you have to step one year back? How did anyone else overcome this hurdle? Anyone want btw to offload any old "Janet and John" type books they have too many of? If so we'll keep 'em and pass 'em on ourselves later to a TTer.

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My 7 year old has started to read in English. She sounds it out and I help her to disentangle it from German. I brought a lot of childrens books with me, but if you want to order some in, the Flat Stanley books are easy and fun.

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If she speaks English, she probably has enough vocabulary to understand what she is reading. Most of the simple alphabetic (a-z) letter/sound correspondences in English are the same or similar to those in German (apart from the vowel sounds and w, j, v, ch, th, wh, sh) so, to a certain extent, she should be able to decode text. The problem comes when she hits long vowel phoneme patterns and other homophonic spelling patterns (those that sound the same but are spelt differently) and then you find that, if she has not been taught the code, she will stop decoding then. Add to that the 100 or so words in the English language which children come across most of the time in their early stages (so called high frequency words) that can't be decoded and it makes it even trickier. Oh, the joys of a language with words that are not completely phonetically decodable.

 

So, based on that, yes. I would take her back a stage or two to books where she is able to decode and read for herself. She should be able to retell the story to you and relate her own experiences based on it to you anyway (this is also part of learning to read). ORT now has a series of books called "Floppy's Phonics" and these are levelled according to the phonic stages the children are at. All the characters from the original ORT series are included so it is still familiar to the childhttp://www.oup.com/o...floppysphonics/

 

There is also an overview chart here that gives you expected reading ages for native speaking English kids: http://www.oup.com/o...ree/chart_2010/ but based on your situation, I would probably start around stage 2, 3 or 4, see how she goes and if she can read most of the book independently and retell the story in detail you will know to move on.

 

A good idea would be to invest in a pack of flashcards or some kind of phonic programme that includes the coverage of long vowel phonemes and others and how to discriminate them. One link I use in school is this http://firstschoolye...y/word/word.htm. Basically covers all you need and has loads of different kinds of activities for teaching different phoneme/grapheme correspondences. I also use this site which has online books to read but these can also be printed off: http://www.starfall.com/

 

This is, of course, if you want to teach her reading. There is also nothing wrong with sharing at this stage but she will need some help along the way and telling her words rather than her finding them out for herself kind of defeats the purpose. Sorry if this is too long and too much for you. Just got on my high horse there for a mo.

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: I neither work for nor endorse ORT or any of these links but if I did, I'd probably make a bomb out of these recommendations.

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My daughter really enjoys reading Dr. Seuss books. She will wake up early in the morning and lay in bed reading...never mind that she could use that sleep, but I guess I wake her up when I go downstairs to get the day started. Ironically, I think she can read better in English than German, but maybe it is because she is just more familiar with the stories or even the English language as she didn't start German until almost 5 1/2. She will be 7 in a few months (goodness, that sounds old!) I do think learning to read in German must be easier as things are as they look, as Kazalphaville much more eloquently said!

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I taught both my kids to read in English using this book: Reading Reflex: The Foolproof Phono-Graphix Method for Teaching Your Child to Read. That was a while back (they are now in 7th & 9th grade, respectively), but I just checked amazon and it's available for €14,99. Good luck!

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jeremy,

You're British... Ladybird books. Still an excellent series of graded books.

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I'm British too! So is all the stuff I linked (apart from the starfall.com link)

 

I grew up on Peter and Jane, Ladybird books and Wide Range Readers (anyone else remember Nip the dog and Fluff the cat?). Yes, I'm that old.

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Oxford Reading Tree (as already mentioned) are good

Both Ladybird and Usborne have various series of books that are great - I particularly like the Usborne Very First Reading series.

I also think the Peter and Jane - Key Words series, which is now out of fashion, is well worth trying. I looked at them and thought they would be too hard for my two (6 year old twins who can read basic words phonically), but seemed to pick up the new (non-phonic) words very quickly. Although phonics is all the rage now (and I understand why), I think it is important that children also learn that some words just have to be learnt, because phonics doesn't work for everything.

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jeremy,

You're British... Ladybird books. Still an excellent series of graded books.

 

Noselad: My mum found a fantastic compendium of the old Ladybirds in a Scope or Cancer Research shop for me. It's been standard fare at bedtime for years.

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Yep. That book basically backs up what I was talking about. Looks useful.

 

Yeah, sorry -- meant to mention your comments, but by the time I got around to posting, I'd forgotten :huh: .

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Dr. Seuss books are great for teaching rhyming patterns, also part of learning phonics.

 

I have sung the praises of Dr. Seuss MANY times on this forum [we own all of his books, and I'm convinced that they, more than the HUNDREDS of other books that my 6 year old owns/ reads, are the reason he reads so well]... Knowing that Sir jeremy is a stuck-in-the-70s Brit, I want to mention a more modern author:

 

Julia Donaldson

 

She is the UK Dr. Seuss, IMHO. We have several of her books (here in the USA), and my son thinks they're great. We just read one tonight ("The Snail and the Whale"). We even have a few translated into German (e.g. das Grüffelo). Highly recommended! Excellent rhyming skills, plus the stories are FUN, and have good 'morals' (like a fairy tale of yore), much like the Dr. Seuss books of my childhood.

 

I am a firm believer (with experience to back it up) that learning to read in English should first and foremost be FUN. Not a dreaded TASK.

 

btw Jer, her illustrator, Axel Scheffler, is from Hamburg. That should keep your Frau happy. :P

 

Viel Spaß!

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I'd go with Julia Donaldson for sure, especially as there is a lot of repeated language in them to help reading, but I wouldn't use them as beginner independent reads. I love her books, especially Room on the Broom!

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jeremy,

You're British... Ladybird books. Still an excellent series of graded books.

 

Oh I brought tons of them over in my trailer about five years ago when parents moved house. I do have a few Peter and Janes 2c,3a,3b etc but we aren't there yet.

 

Not that I am driven by a nose sniffing dosh but I found out they are worth lots of money, found some website to that effect.

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I would make sure the books are somewhat age appropriate if she can already read in German - 'Room on the Broom' etc. are great for under 5s but I think a 7 year old would feel somewhat patronised - I know my 5 year old no longer asks for those stories although my 3 year old loves them! German children may know the Gruffalo, but as a book for Kindergarten children. Julia Donaldson has also written a book of plays, aimed at a range of ages from 5 to 10, (specified in the introduction to each play) including some for reluctant readers, and those may be more appropriate to a 7 year old who can read in German - you could read them together as many are written to be read aloud as "shared readers", not only to be acted, and have only a few parts - could be a fun way for her to learn to read aloud in English.

 

Sorry that's not especially helpful - we have done a bit of 'Jolly Phonics' (British) and I also have an American book with photocopyable activities called "Learning sight words is easy" - my daughter hasn't started school here yet but asked to learn read when she was 4, after a British friend came over to visit with her 4 year old who already read quite well - we have done bits and bobs (in English only so as to keep it very separate from what she will learn here at school, and because my German isn't good enough anyway to teach her to read in German) when my daughter has wanted to, and she mainly sounds words out if she wants to read them, and writes a lot of little messages and stories (phonetically spelt) but has never really been that interested in memorising sight words and I haven't pushed it. There are 100 basic sight words that children need to learn to recognise somehow along the way in order to have any chance of reading fluently in English. Jolly Phonics would be too babyish for a 7 year old though - it is what they use in reception (age 4-5) in the UK, alongside learning the sight words, which seems (according to friends with small children in the UK school system) to be done at least in part with flash cards. The older ORT books are criticised by some in the UK for introducing difficult sight words rather early on, but that is probably only a problem for children learning a strictly phonics scheme at school but bringing ORT books home.

 

Starfall is good - my daughter "plays" on that site sometimes, but Brits may want to note it does teach American pronunciation, which is markedly different for a few sounds as well as the over all accent on the shared reading texts and songs ;o) I tend to point out the differences to my daughter - bilingual kids seem to recognise and accept the differences easily and as an interesting rather than problematic thing.

 

Edited to add - have a look at the "Alphablocks" on the cbeebies website, but again may well seem babyish to a 7 year old! http://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/alphablocks/

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I would make sure the books are somewhat age appropriate if she can already read in German - 'Room on the Broom' etc. are great for under 5s but I think a 7 year old would feel somewhat patronised

Room on the Broom and The Gruffalo are standard key stage 1 books in the UK (ages 5 to 7). I use them with my grade 1 and 2 class (ages 5 to 8) and they love them. As independent reads, they are totally age-appropriate.

 

As for "older" ORT books introducing sight words early on, what is considered early on? There are 100 or so sight words if you use a sythetic phonics approach to teaching reading but almost 300 if you use the older methods (see Dolch words, etc.). ORT does not use synthetic phonics in the original books, hence them bringing out their new "Floppy's Phonics" books, which do. As you said yourself, a child needs to memorise these words to be able to read them so as soon as possible is probably the best time to start. They're not being asked to spell them, only to recognise them. ORT still uses sight words from the very start. "The" is a sight word. So is "a". There are also reading researchers who say that phonics should not be emphasised and that a top-down whole language approach is needed for teaching reading. That is based wholly on sight words. My opinion as a primary school teacher who teaches reading to native English and ESL kids is you need a balance of both. You would need that to be able to read Room on the Broom and The Gruffalo anyway. BTW, you can also get Room on the Broom in German.

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